Top 10 Technologies We Have Because Of The Cold War


The years after the end of World War II was a very tumultuous time in modern history, and was also a time

that shaped the world as we know it today. During World War 2 the USA and Russia had been allies against a common enemy, Nazi Germany. But after the end of the war it became clear that the vast differences in political viewpoints on the two sides were not reconcilable. The Communist and Marxist views of the Russians did not sit well with the Western allies lead by the USA. The ensuing conflict lasting from 1947 to 1991 have lead to amazing technological advances which had an impact on our every day lives.

10. Advancement of the Nuclear Program on both sides

Advancement of the Nuclear Program Cold War

The end of  World War II was signaled by the only wartime use of nuclear weapons in history, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war the USA and the western allies continued with various research programs into nuclear warfare and other uses of Nuclear reactions. The Russians had also been working on both Uranium and Plutonium bomb development during world war two, and this continued well into the cold war era, leading to several standoffs between the two super powers, including the Cuban missile crisis. The research on nuclear technology done on both sides of the iron curtain during the cold war  period has been instrumental in the development of Nuclear Power Generation technology used today. 

9. The Space Race and the introduction of satellites

The Space Race and the introduction of satellites

Satellites can be used for many different purposes. The first satellites were developed during the cold  war period by both America and Russia. These orbiting observation stations were first designed to spy on each other. Later uses focused on more sinister motives such as weapon guidance and other forms of concealed attack.

Telstar was the first commercial satellite to be launched as a commercial communication satellite in 1962, and changed the way we communicate forever. Today  satellites form an integral part of everyday life. Without them we would not have live Television broadcasts and no Global Positioning System (GPS). 

 8. Long Range Bombers

Long Range Bombers Top 10 Technologies We Have Because Of The Cold War

Military conflict is very often the crucible where amazing technologies are refined. These technologies very often find much more docile applications in modern society. The Long range Bombers such as the B52 and B48 bombers developed during the cold war years created the platform for the development of the modern day long range jet airliner used for passenger and freight transport. Another major advance in aeronautical science was the development of the first Supersonic aircraft during the cold war years. This was one of the last physical barriers breached by mankind. 

7. Lasers

Lasers Weapons Cold War

The first LASERS “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation” were produced in the USA during the 1960, following a lot of theoretical work. Even though lasers are not weapons on their own, they find a wide range of application in both military and civilian applications. Some uses include targeting systems for weapons, surgical application and analytical techniques used in chemistry laboratories. 

6. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

Because of the distance between the USA and Russia both sides of the conflict found a need for weapons that could reach major cities across borders. This need was the driving force behind the development behind these rockets that could deliver a nuclear warhead across vast distances.

The technology development for these missiles were also instrumental in the development of rockets used to launch rockets into space to deploy satellites. 

5. Agent Orange

Agent Orange Cold War

One of the most widely criticized programs of the US government during the cold war was the biological warfare research program. The program was operated in extreme secrecy and was charged with developing biological agents to be used in warfare.

The controversial program was halted after the negative publicity  for the use of agents like Agent Orange in the Vietnam war. The revelation of the use of biological warfare in the Vietnam also led to revelations of other shocking research methods and tests being conducted. And ultimately led to the complete shutdown of the program. 

4. Advances in Computers

Advances in Computers Cold War

As with most electronic and Hi-Tech developments, war and conflict is the best incubator. The cold war was not any different. In efforts to transport and hide information more effectively scientists on both sides of the iron curtain worked endlessly during the cold war to improve artificial intelligence technology. Some of the inventions of the time include DRAM and the memory chip. Thus opening doors to smaller and more portable computing devices. 

3. Programming Languages such as Basic

Programming Languages such as Basic Cold War

What use would our computers be without a programming language and software. It would just end up being a very expensive doorstop. The cold war era was one of the most innovative of the 20th Century. The invention of the computer opened a world of new possibilities to researchers and governments alike. The secret to success was to develop programming languages for the calculations required to advance other technologies. BASIC was one of the first programming languages developed for public use, and was based on programming languages used by the military. 

2. Long Distance Calling

Long Distance Calling Cold War

The era of cellphones have made it very easy to have a crystal clear conversation with somebody. This was not the case 50 years ago. The technology used to connect people over long distances have greatly advanced the transfer of knowledge. Another advantage of the long distance phone line is also that conflicts and misunderstandings can be sorted out much quicker. Maybe not such a bad idea during the cold war. 

1. The Predecessor to the Internet

Internet Cold War

What is the one invention that has changed the way in which we see the world today. No single invention has changed our interaction with each other as much as the internet.

During the 1960’s the US government funded a project by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to develop a protocol to share information between military computers very quickly. The resulting ARPAnet was the first system capable of sharing information between computers in different locations. The first connection of the system was made in 1969, and was for all practical purposes the first use of the internet as we know it today.

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